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  • Writer's pictureDylan Parry

All you need is love and hate

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

As a copywriter, you clearly need to love words. 

You need to be in thrall to their power to provoke feelings, actions and loyalties. You need to be in awe of their ability to raise smiles, questions and dollars. You need to be enamoured with / crazy about / smitten by (delete as appropriate) the sheer range of options they put at your fingertips. 

Damn right you need to love words.

But you know what? You kinda need to hate words a little bit, too. 

That’s right, you heard. 

If you love the precision of language, you need to hate the way the wrong word puts your reader on the fast train to Wrongsville. If you love how words can energise, you need to hate writing that can’t be bothered to get out of bed. If you love a clear message, you need to hate the way an obese sentence or paragraph dilutes your most salient point. 

A strategist recently half-joked with me that, wherever one word would do, he would always use five. If you want to avoid that, you need to hate those four superfluous, imposter words. You need to interrogate the suitability of all candidates, ruthlessly casting all but the best aside.

On the journey to an effective piece of writing, there are many roads to ruin. To make the smart choice at every turn takes eternal vigilance, and a healthy derision for every lacklustre option that beckons you – siren-like – towards the rocks.

And it must be so for any creator or craftsperson, surely? Whether chef, composer or carpenter.

This love and hatred of words is, above all, what sees us become ‘writers' I think. There’s no magic gene. There’s no secret sauce. There’s no alchemy.

You can do it too, if you’re ready to love…and hate.

Dylan Parry is a London-based copywriter. He wasn’t born one; he became one through hard work and the kindness of colleagues.

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